Agenda item

Sole Supplier Procurement - Oral Update

Minutes:

The Assistant Director (Operations) advised that over past three years, DSO Building Management undertaken a programme of significant change and a number of big projects had been completed such as the salary review, introduction of a new job scheduling system, new policies and procedures and more recently, the agreement to recruit 25 additional craft workers over two phases to enable the completion of more work in-house. From the start of the transformation it had been clear that the way in which the supply of materials and stock was managed would need to be reviewed.

The Technical Manager (Housing Repairs) advised that towards the end of 2018, Cabinet had agreed that a procurement exercise be undertaken to appoint a sole supplier to supply the materials and goods needed to repair and maintain council housing. Historically, the ordering, storage and allocation of materials for repair jobs had been managed locally and, whilst the team had done a great job over the last few years, there were better and more efficient ways of working which included allowing GBC and a sole suppliers system to digitalise the process with some automation of ordering. Using the Procurement for Housing Framework, a mini competition had been carried out and this had been evaluated in December 2018. Grafton’s had been the first ranked tenderer.

Since December 2018, officers had been working with Grafton’s to decide the working relationship going forward and following the initial meeting it had been agreed that the Council should replicate a successful operation the company had with neighbouring organisations such as MHS Homes and the Council’s current contractor, Breyer. Commencing 1 April 2019, Grafton would work in partnership with GBC and would occupy a section of the current stores area at Brookvale. They would fully manage the supply of materials in their dedicated area and the systems would be linked to ensure all materials and stock purchased was fully auditable and could be linked to an actual job.

Front line craft workers such as electricians, plumbers etc. would be allocated stock which would be replenished after the completion of the job via the Oneserve system which would be linked to the automated ordering system at Graftons’s. Workers would replenish their stock from a stand-alone locker located at the Brookvale Depot. If stock was not available there would be an internal trade counter located in the stores. This way of working was not only more efficient, it also allowed GBC the opportunity to reduce the risk of holding stock, reduce overheads and improve service to the customers.

The following points were raised:

·         The addition of 25 new employees had been mentioned by officers. Following a question in relation to the Apprenticeship Levy paid by the Council as a major employer, the Assistant Director (Operations) advised that none of the new employees would be apprentices. However, apprentices were already employed elsewhere within the service which included an apprentice electrician, apprentice plumber and apprentice carpenter.

·         Following a question with regard to value for money, Members were advised Grafton’s had been selected following a mini competition through the Procurement for Housing Framework. Members had been consulted on this decision via a report to this Cabinet Committee, Overview Scrutiny Committee and Cabinet. In addition, the Chair of the Committee, as Portfolio Holder, had been briefed on a number of occasions.

 

·         Members were advised that if an item of stock was not available, Grafton’s had undertaken to source and supply it to the Depot within 24 hours. It was also noted that the service would continue to work with a small number of independent suppliers when Grafton’s could not match the price, for example UPVC windows and doors.

·         The Chair highlighted that the new efficiency model made the jobs and repairs more seamless and also increased the Council’s buying power and enabled economies of scale.

The Committee noted the information provided within the report.